A couple of days ago, my husband, knowing my incessant-bordering-on-paranoid need for privacy, told me that Microsoft was watching people through the Kinect. I don’t even like posters, for Christ’s sake, because of the eyes.
Damn the eyes.
So I definitely do not want some Microsoft creeper peeping at me in real-time (or otherwise!). But something isn’t quite right. It just seems so far-fetched.
“Yeah, right,” even I say. “What do they want to know? I’ll tell ’em. You’re bullshittin’, man. Bullshit.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m just messin’…”
Fastforward to now, and I happen upon a tidbit about Microsoft being granted a patent to…
Dun, dun, DUUUN!
…check you out via your Kinect and other such peripherals!
The purpose of this Content Distribution Regulating by Viewing User patent, as it is called, is to allow Microsoft to regulate the number of viewers watching its pay-per-view titles. You buy one license, you are allowed one viewer. Two licenses – two viewers, and so forth. If MS monitors notice more viewers than licenses purchased, the content stops.
So does this mean that I would have to buy four licenses per purchase? When I’m dancing (or flailing – whichever you prefer) in front of my Kinect, the thing is more apt to pick up on my toddler than on me. It has even honed in of my infant on occasion (perhaps they are smoother on the dance floor than their mother). Do I have to, effectively, pay for my kids to sit in my living room, even though they don’t know what’s going on half the time, and definitely don’t give a hoot about what’s playing on television?
I can see if we’re talking about a technology that would police a public viewing. But this sort of venture is creepy overkill for a home setting wherein it is expected to find a couple of people simultaneously enjoying one piece of media.
And let’s not forsake Microsoft’s other surveillance proposal: Targeting Advertising Based on Emotion.” That’s straightforward enough, I guess. They would monitor your facial expressions and body language and place certain adverts that correspond with their findings.
Um, no thanks!
I’m sure the cover it/disconnect it suggestion has been thrown around. I’m equally sure that Microsoft is a shrewd enough corporation to plan for such efforts. To play content, your Kinect will have to be kinected (See what I did there?! LOLOLOL). I can guarantee that. And they will have to be able to detect at least one human form. If not, expect an error message in your future:
“Please resolve the following issues to resume playback…”
Eh, I really can’t get down with this stuff, so I probably won’t be using my Kinect very much anymore.
What say you?
Are you okay with Microsoft policing their content in this way, or is it too invasive for your tastes?